Friday 11 March 2011

Crufts 2011 Day One - good news story 2

Some of the Irish Setters had too much coat (but nothing like as bad as their US show counterparts).  Cockers (both) had  w-a-y too much coat. There were some over-chunky labs (just my opinion of course), and a couple of Clumber spaniels with droopy eyes. But Gundog Day at Crufts yesterday was a pretty good day for the dogs. There was the distinct impression that the judges were putting up more moderate dogs.

Have a look at the winning Clumber this year compared to last...
CHERVOOD'S SNOW BIBI OF KOLA - Best of Breed 2011 © The Kennel Club
SH CH VANITONIA U BET I AM - Best of Breed 2010 © The Kennel Club

Even allowing for the fact this year's winner is a bitch, she is a much more athletic-looking dog. I much prefer her more natural-looking coat, too - and how much better these dogs look without a docked tail.

I also got a chance to see Mate Select in action on the Health Stand - demonstrated by lovely Tom Lewis from the AHT who has played an integral part in its development and is clearly proud of the initiative's potential.  I "virtually mated" my flatcoat Fearless Freddie (who, in fact, died in 2001) with a flatcoat bitch plucked at random from yesterday's catalogue and at the click of a mouse discovered:

• that Freddie's co-efficient of inbreeding (COI) was just 1.9 per cent (very low - which I like to think may be one of the reasons he lived until the great old age of 15).
• the breed average for flatcoats is 7.2 per cent (making them, on average, more closely-related to each other than first cousins), reflecting their small gene pool.
• a mating with Caisbladd Kalmi would produce pups with a COI of 1.9 per cent (probably reflecting the fact that Freddie came from working/pet lines).
• the health test results for each dog going back three generations

In truth, Mate Select is limited at the moment. But I do feel that it is a start and its potential is obvious given the scope for including much more than just COI data. Good news too that it will be free.

Mate Select in action. Sorry a bit blurry... hard to take pix of a computer screen using an iPhone!
Also on the flatcoat front, of course, is that Sh Ch Vbos The Kentuckian won the Gundog Group - a waggy, beautiful-looking dog that will be 10 in August. This is good news in a breed where so many are taken too young by cancer. "Jet" is already a well-used stud dog, so here's hoping his longer-surviving genes will be passed down to his offspring. I cannot, however, find any references to Jet being a working dog (happy to be corrected if anyone knows otherwise) and if he isn't, that is a shame in a breed where there are, still, quite a few dual-purpose dogs.


  1. Nice, and full applause to you for featuring TWO good KC stories this AM.

    This is REAL dog training -- a hard pull on the choke collar when the Kennel Club animal does very bad and dangerous things, and a "click and treat" when proximate behavior towards the goal is achieved.


  2. A COI value is only of limited use without knowing the number of generations it is calculated to. Any idea?
    Nice to see the Irish Water Spaniel that went Group 2 has a 10 generation COI of 1.5% - just a pity about her parents.

  3. The beautiful clumber spaniel does look alot lighter. I applaud the breeders and judges. Looks like heading in the right direction. XxX

  4. David, Mate Select has info on every dog that has been registered since the KC's database went electronic in 1980. But the info goes back further becaus it includes the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents of dogs reg'd in 1980. Jeff Sampson said yesterday that it can throw out a 25-gen COI for some dogs - although typically it looks like it's about 8 gens. Mate Select tells you how many gens - and also if they are complete/incomplete - eg will say info complete for, say, 6 gens, and incomplete for 8 gens.

  5. This is good news. Whether breeders use this will be as much to do with market forces as market a lot to do still. Good news though.

  6. Jemina, I have a Flatcoat bitch. she will be 13 next month. I used to show her when she was younger, she was a very successful working bitch picking up on the local shoots. and competed in the Gamekeeper classes at crufts winning a second which we were thrilled at. Even at 13yrs old my bitch is still very active going for walks with the others.

  7. What a fantastic looking Clumber and so positive that it has been recognised. Also agree with tail. Before 07 I heard one Clumber breeder say that she would rather stop breeding altogether than have to leave the tails on her Clumbers - stating they were too large for the dog in proportion (ignoring that if the legs were longer it would be moot point).
    A real step in the right direction and nice to have something positive coming from Crufts.

  8. Is it good news? I do not own this breed or any other gundog, but any idiot knows that is a junior bitch with a junior coat.
    She is only days out of puppy and not bred in the UK
    That bitch only looks that way because of her age.

  9. Well said! The dog in the lower picture is a fully matured male and (in my opinion) doesn't look to have that much coat. The only place he has more coat is the neck/chest area, this has clearly been clipped or trimmed on the bitch, so in actual fact it is the male who has the more natural looking coat! It would be interesting to see the bitch in a few years when she is fully matured, lets see if you think she is so wonderful then.

  10. Yes I agree with the last two posts entirely.
    Obviously you have no idea that a Clumber is supposed to be a heavy low slung "Bulldozer" bred to push through heavy brambles. What a joke you are!!

  11. The Clumber was never meant to be as heavy and cumbersome as some of the show-dogs are today. The BOB is still a low-slung and powerful-looking dog and I was pleased to see her win because she looks a lot more like the working Clumbers doing the job they were bred to do.

  12. Great blog and comments but just one gripe "looks god without a docked tail" Fair enough on a show dog but some spaniels do need docking...the working springer or cocker for example. If I orked clumbers or sussex I might try a full tailed one due to their more sedate style of hunting, but I could never subject my springers to the risk of damage. (I might have been ani-docking if I hadn't seen tail injuries so early in my veterinary training!)

  13. Two fab pix here of working Clumbers with tails.

  14. the flat coat won Crufts. Apparently he has offspring that work.

  15. funny thing that tail..why is the owner holding it in the middle so that it LOOKS like a docked tail? Why is it not held out naturally..I actually saw a cocker owner stick the long ( and ugly) tail of his dog up his sleeve when the photographer came to take the picture..the dog looked 99% better..
    Mr Burns.. what do you think about the docked vs undocked?
    I am not a Clumber breeder but the winner looks fairly roached in the top line.( perhaps this is because the owner is holding her up by the tail). and has NO coat at all.. and once more we take a photo of an obviously young animal.. a bitch.. and compare it to a fully matured stud dog.. honestly is there no end?

  16. Jemima,

    I just discovered that it is something akin blasphemy to mention anything about type splits in Clumber spaniels. To mention this at all is to cross some breed shibboleth, which apparently all breeds have, but this one is even funnier.

    I think Denial is a river that runs through Clumber Park!

    To even say that there has been a type split is to say that you think Clumbers should be springers!


    Here's what I mean!

    Nowhere did I say "I hate Clumber spaniels."

    That was the ultimate straw man argument!